Georges Bizet

Biography

Born: 1838   Died: 1875   Country: France   Period: Romantic
Known for one of the world's most popular operas, Carmen, Georges Bizet deserves attention as well for other works of remarkable melodic charm. Many of his works received cool receptions on their premieres but are now considered central to the repertory of classical music.

Bizet was born in Paris on October 25, 1838, and grew up in a happy, musical family that encouraged his talents. He learned to read music at the same time he learned to
Read more read letters, and equally well. Entering the Paris Conservatory before he was ten, he earned first prize in solfège within six months, a first prize in piano in 1852, and eventually, the coveted Prix de Rome in 1857 for his cantata Clovis et Clotilde. His teachers had included Marmontel for piano and Halévy for composition, but the greatest influence on him was Charles Gounod, of whom Bizet later said "You were the beginning of my life as an artist." Bizet himself hid away his Symphony in C, written when he was 17, feeling it was too much like its models, Gounod's symphonies. The two years spent in Rome after winning his prize, would be the only extensive time, and a greatly impressionable one, that Bizet would spend outside of Paris in his brief life. When he returned to Paris, he lost confidence in his natural talents and began to substitute dry Germanic or academic writing for his own developing idiom. He composed a one-act opera for production at the Opéra-Comique, but the theater's director engaged him to write a full-length opera instead, Les pêcheurs de perles (The Pearl Fishers). It was not a success at the time, but despite a few weaknesses, the work was revived in 1886, and its sheer beauty has earned it a respected position among the lesser-played operatic repertory. In 1863 Bizet's father bought land outside Paris where he built two bungalows, one of which Bizet frequently used as a compositional retreat. He began a friendship (apparently not a physical one) with a neighbor-woman named Céleste Mogador, a former actress, author, courtesan, circus rider, and dance-hall girl. She is said to have been the model for his masterpiece's title role of Carmen. Bizet earned his living as an accompanist and publishing house arranger. Meanwhile, he poured his creative efforts into an immense five-act opera in the grand tradition, Ivan IV, but it was never performed. This proved to be a pattern for the rest of his career. Bizet would work hard to get an opera produced, and even if he did, it would usually receive only a handful of performances. Bizet's corpus of unfinished works is large, and testifies to his unsettled existence and his difficulty in finding a place in France's notoriously hierarchical and conservative musical world. In 1869 Bizet married Geneviève Halévy, daughter of his teacher. The marriage did not turn out to be a happy one, primarily due to her family's history of mental illness. In 1872, Bizet's splendid incidental music for the play L'arlèsienne was poorly received, but when the composer assembled the music into an orchestral suite for a November performance, it found great acclaim. At last confident of his creative vision, Bizet was able to steer his final masterpiece through various obstacles, including the objections of singers and theater directors who were shocked by Carmen's subject matter. When the opera had its premiere on March 3, 1875, it was received barely well enough to hang on for future productions. Although it took audiences only a few weeks to catch on, Bizet died convinced it was a failure. Read less
Bizet: Carmen / Krasteva, Antonenko, Märzendorfer, Et Al
Release Date: 10/18/2005   Label: Euroarts  
Catalog: 2054528   Number of Discs: 1
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Bizet: Carmen / Kaufmann, Kasarova, Welser-Most
Release Date: 10/27/2014   Label: Decca  
Catalog: 002188409   Number of Discs: 1
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Bizet: Carmen / Garanca, Alagna, Nezet-Seguin, Metropolitan Opera
Release Date: 09/21/2010   Label: Deutsche Grammophon  
Catalog: 001431109   Number of Discs: 2
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Bizet: Carmen / Reiner, Stevens, Tucker, Silveri, Conner
Release Date: 11/01/2011   Label: Sony  
Catalog: 7961892   Number of Discs: 2
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Bizet: Les Pecheurs De Perles / Fournet, Simoneau, Alarie
Release Date: 11/08/2011   Label: Guild  
Catalog: 2382/83   Number of Discs: 2
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Work: Carmen: Micaëla's Aria

Browse 51-75 of 79 Available Recordings
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  • 51.
    Opera - Bizet: Carmen (Highlights) / Frühbeck De Burgos
    Label: Emi Seraphim   Catalog: 74127 Release Date: 10/24/2000   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Georges Bizet
    Performer:  Jon Vickers,  Grace Bumbry,  Kostas Paskalis,  Bernard Gontcharenko  ... 
    Conductor:  Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Paris Opera Chorus,  National Theater Opera Orchestra of Paris
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  • 52.
    Waldoper Zoppot - The Bayreuth Of The North - 99 Singers
    Label: Preiser Records   Catalog: 89406 Release Date: 10/24/2000   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Engelbert Humperdinck,  Carl Maria von Weber,  Ruggero Leoncavallo,  Richard Wagner  ... 
    Performer:  Claire Dux,  Robert Hager,  Tiana Lemnitz,  Ludwig Hofmann  ... 
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  • 53.
    Renée Fleming
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 467049 Release Date: 09/26/2000   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ruggero Leoncavallo,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Vincenzo Bellini,  Charles Gounod  ... 
    Performer:  Renée Fleming
    Conductor:  Sir Charles Mackerras
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  London Voices
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  • 54.
    The Prima Voce Treasury Of Opera Vol 1
    Label: Nimbus   Catalog: 1742 Release Date: 02/15/2000   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini,  Jules Massenet,  Giacomo Puccini,  Franz Lehár  ... 
    Performer:  Eidé Noréna,  Conchita Supervia,  Tito Schipa,  Riccardo Stracciari  ... 
    Conductor:  Henri Défosse,  Angelo Albergoni,  Giorgio Polacco,  Nils Grevillius  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Odeon-Künstler Orchestra,  Rome Opera Teatro Reale Orchestra,  Philadelphia Orchestra  ... 
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  • 55.
    Prima Voce - Alma Gluck
    Label: Nimbus   Catalog: 7904 Release Date: 01/11/2000   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Engelbert Humperdinck,  Robert Johnson,  Jean-Philippe Rameau,  Camille Saint-Saëns  ... 
    Performer:  Alma Gluck
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  • 56.
    Lebendige Vergangenheit - Graziella Pareto
    Label: Preiser Records   Catalog: 89181 Release Date: 12/14/1999   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Garme Guetary,  Manuel Ponce,  Gabriele Sibella,  Luigi Arditi  ... 
    Performer:  Graziella Pareto,  Giovanni Manurita,  Fernandino Ciniselli,  Matteo Dragoni  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra,  Chorus
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  • 57.
    Prima Voce - Elisabeth Rethberg
    Label: Nimbus   Catalog: 7903 Release Date: 10/12/1999   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Georges Bizet,  Johann Strauss Jr.,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart  ... 
    Performer:  Elisabeth Rethberg
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  • 58.
    Bizet: Carmen - Highlights / Karajan, Price, Corelli, Et Al
    Label: Rca Victor Red Seal   Catalog: 63495 Release Date: 09/14/1999   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Georges Bizet
    Performer:  Franco Corelli,  Leontyne Price,  Mirella Freni,  Monique Linval  ... 
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna State Opera Chorus,  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna Boys' Choir
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  • 59.
    Simply The Best Night At The Opera / Algana, Bartoli, Et Al
    Label: Erato   Catalog: 26499 Release Date: 07/06/1999   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini,  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Richard Wagner,  Giacomo Puccini  ... 
    Performer:  Samuel Ramey,  Annick Massis,  Marilyn Horne,  Håkan Hagegård  ... 
    Conductor:  Claudio Scimone,  Marc Minkowski,  Lawrence Foster,  Marek Janowski  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  I Solisti Veneti,  Le Concert des Tuileries,  Monte Carlo Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
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  • 60.
    Dorothy Warenskjold - A Treasury Of Operatic Heroines
    Label: Cambria   Catalog: 1111 Release Date: 06/29/1999   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Carl Maria von Weber,  Ruggero Leoncavallo,  Giacomo Puccini,  Franco Leoni  ... 
    Performer:  Dorothy Warenskjold
    Conductor:  Gaetano Merola,  Fausto Cleva,  Arthur Fiedler,  Eugen Szenkar  ... 
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  • 61.
    Bizet: Carmen Highlights / Migenes, Domingo, Maazel
    Label: Erato   Catalog: 45209 Release Date: 06/22/1999   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Georges Bizet
    Performer:  Julia Migenes,  Faith Esham,  Placido [Tenor Vocals] Domingo,  Lillian Watson  ... 
    Conductor:  Lorin Maazel
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  • 62.
    En Francais - Airs D'opera / Valerie Masterson, Et Al
    Label: Jay Records   Catalog: 1318 Release Date: 06/15/1999   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Charles Gounod,  Georges Bizet,  Jules Massenet,  Claude Debussy  ... 
    Performer:  Valerie Masterson
    Conductor:  John Owen Edwards
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  National Symphony, Washington, D. C.
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  • 63.
    Four Austrian Sopranos Of The Past
    Label: Preiser Records   Catalog: 89973 Release Date: 07/04/1998   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Carl Maria von Weber,  Richard Strauss,  Richard Wagner,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart  ... 
    Performer:  Hilde Konetzni,  Maria Reining,  Luise Helletsgruber,  Berta Kiurina
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  • 64.
    Callas Edition - Bizet: Carmen Highlights / Prêtre, Paris
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 66663 Release Date: 06/02/1998   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Georges Bizet
    Performer:  Nicolai Gedda,  Maria Callas,  Andréa Guiot,  Nadine Sautereau  ... 
    Conductor:  Georges Prêtre
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Paris Opera Orchestra,  René Duclos Chorus,  Jean Pesneaud Children's Choir
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  • 65.
    Bizet: Carmen - Highlights / Solti, Troyanos, Domingo, Et Al
    Label: London/Decca Opera Gala Series   Catalog: 458204 Release Date: 05/12/1998   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Georges Bizet
    Performer:  Placido Domingo,  Tatiana Troyanos,  Dame Kiri Te Kanawa,  Jane Berbié  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Georg Solti
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  John Alldis Choir,  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  Haberdashers' Aske's School Boys Choir
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  • 66.
    Prima Voce - Tetrazzini Vol 2
    Label: Nimbus   Catalog: 7891 Release Date: 03/17/1998   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini,  Félicien César David,  Vincenzo Bellini,  Giuseppe Verdi  ... 
    Performer:  Luisa Tetrazzini,  Cleofonte Campanini,  Walter Oesterreicher,  Percy Pitt
    Conductor:  Percy Pitt,  Walter Rogers
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra
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  • 67.
    Prima Voce - Eide Norena
    Label: Nimbus   Catalog: 7821 Release Date: 11/01/1996   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini,  Edvard Grieg,  George Frideric Handel,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart  ... 
    Performer:  Eidé Noréna
    Conductor:  Henri Défosse,  Piero Coppola,  Joseph Messner
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  • 68.
    Bizet: Carmen - Highlights / Lombard, Crespin, Py, Van Dam
    Label: Erato   Catalog: 13801 Release Date: 09/03/1996   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Georges Bizet
    Performer:  Gilbert Py,  Régine Crespin,  Nadine Denize,  José Van Dam  ... 
    Conductor:  Alain Lombard
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Rhine Opera Chorus,  Strasbourg Philharmonic Orchestra,  St. Maurice Children's Chorus
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  • 69.
    Prima Voce - Farrar In French Opera
    Label: Nimbus   Catalog: 7872 Release Date: 10/03/1995   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Jules Massenet,  Ambroise Thomas,  Charles Gounod,  Jacques Offenbach  ... 
    Performer:  Geraldine Farrar,  Fritz Kreisler,  Edmond Clément,  Antonio [Baritone Vocals] Scotti  ... 
    Conductor:  Walter B. Rogers,  Arturo Toscanini
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  • 70.
    Unvergessene Stimmen Der Wiener Staatsoper
    Label: Preiser Records   Catalog: 89401 Release Date: 02/07/1995   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Carl Maria von Weber,  Richard Strauss,  Richard Wagner,  Giuseppe Verdi  ... 
    Performer:  Hilde Konetzni,  Elisabeth Höngen,  Esther Réthy,  Set Svanholm  ... 
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  • 71.
    Prima Voce - Eames & Plancon
    Label: Nimbus   Catalog: 7860 Release Date: 12/06/1994   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini,  Vincenzo Bellini,  Franz Schubert,  Richard Wagner  ... 
    Performer:  Pol Plançon,  Emma Eames,  Louise Homer,  Emilio de Gorgoza  ... 
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  • 72.
    Lebendige Vergangenheit - Elisabeth Rethberg
    Label: Preiser Records   Catalog: 89051 Release Date: 11/29/1994   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini,  Umberto Giordano,  Hubert Patáky,  Richard Strauss  ... 
    Performer:  Elisabeth Rethberg,  Richard Tauber
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  • 73.
    Basic 100 Vol 52 - Bizet: Carmen Highlights / Karajan, Et Al
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 68021 Release Date: 11/08/1994   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Georges Bizet
    Performer:  Franco Corelli,  Mirella Freni,  Leontyne Price,  Robert Merrill
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna Philharmonic Chorus
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  • 74.
    Bizet: Carmen (Highlights)
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8550727 Release Date: 01/28/1994   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Georges Bizet
    Performer:  Doina Palade,  Giorgio Lamberti,  Alan Titus,  Graciela Alperyn
    Conductor:  Alexander Rahbari
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Slovak State Philharmonic Chorus,  Czecho-Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra Bratislava
    CD: $9.99
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  • 75.
    Dinner Classics - Romance
    Label: Sony Classical Masterworks   Catalog: 48260 Release Date: 04/07/1992   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Sir William Walton,  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Frederick Delius,  Maurice Ravel  ... 
    Performer:  Philippe Entremont,  Rafael Druian,  Pinchas Zukerman
    Conductor:  Louis Lane,  Eugene Ormandy,  George Szell,  Andre Kostelanetz  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cleveland Pops Orchestra,  Philadelphia Orchestra,  Cleveland Orchestra  ... 
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